Apple and me: a history

Posted by September Blue Thursday, 27 December 2007

Macintosh II (er, 1990)? - My first love. No, well - my third love, if we're counting Fiona B., who at age 7 I decided I was going to marry and live with forever in a small cottage in the woods - we'd even picked out the cottage, I tell you truth - and Oliver P., whose mother still has in her possession a letter I wrote to him the year before that, which states that he's the best boy in the whole world, asks him to marry me, and ends 'PS This is a love letter'. Yes, now you laugh, but did subtle ever get any of you anywhere? Exactly. Anyway! My mother started doing some work from home when I was nine or so, and her work sent a massive, creamy-beigeish-grey behemoth home with her, and thus it was that my soul was contracted to Apple from a young and tender age. It had black-and-white games (Glypha! Crystal Quest!). It had seven different alert sounds. It was The Future.

(Also: I just looked Crystal Quest up on Wikipedia to see if anybody ever completed it, and found out that it was one of the first games to appear on Windows Vista in 2007. The Mac-vs-PC jokes write themselves, I tell you.)

Performa 6800 (1995-ish) - Oh, so advanced. Or so we thought at the time ("it's like a CD player, but in the computer! And it's even got a fake-LCD screen!"), but I am loath to mock the technological limitations of the past in case my grandchildren one day read this blog and laugh at me for failing to predict the combination microwave-teleporter-videophones they'll all be carrying in their pockets. I loved this computer when it arrived; I loved it when it got old, and slow, and my parents bought a new one and let me take it to university, where it sat on a desk in my bedroom and ignored my flatmates saying things like "three-gig hard drive? Serial ports? What does it run on, coal?" because it was mine and it was precious to me. And because I'd customised all the sound effects, so error alerts were Lando Calrissian saying "I've got a bad feeling about this" and the startup sound was Han Solo telling you that no mystical energy force controlled his destiny. I think Jawas also featured somewhere. Oh, shush.

iMac (2001) - My baby, my only, my sweet (until I can afford a laptop, when it'll retire gently and spend the rest of its career telling those young iPods to get off its lawn). It's getting on a bit now - it couldn't find its hard drive the other day, which caused some consternation - and it can't run, well, anything, at least not anything created in the past three years, but it's loved and cherished as much as it ever was. This is the computer I used to kiss goodnight (to the resigned bewilderment of my at-the-time boyfriend); this is the computer I talked down from a kernel panic with murmurs and coos (and fsck, but I'm sure it was the sweet talk that did it). It's smooth, it's shiny, it's covered in flowers, and I take great delight in telling haughty why-don't-you-get-a-real-computer commentators that I chose it for the colour scheme alone.

iPod (2002) - The hard drive finally gave in six weeks ago, but until then, the iPod was virtually indestructible. It's been dropped, dropped again, dropped onto cobbles at high speed, dropped in water, covered in milk, left in a pub, lost behind a TV cabinet, and the battery never even faltered. For some reason, though, it never would play Bruce Springsteen's 'Jersey Girl' without skipping around like crazy, no matter what version I copied across, not once in all those years.

iPod Shuffle (2007) - As presented by my Masters-in-Biology brother:
"That's tiny. You could eat that."
"Why would you want to eat it?"
"You could put it right in your mouth and eat it. It's bite-sized."
"Don't eat my iPod."
"In one go. You could eat it."
"But don't."
"But you could."
"But don't."

Fancy-Pants New Shiny Silver Keyboard (2007) - It's not the keyboard I'm unimpressed with, as such, it's the having to buy a new keyboard just because I spilt coffee over the old one. Which, following some rapid cleaning and slow drying out, I thought I'd got away with, until a few days later when it suddenly decided it didn't like any key but 2. But it really liked 2. "2222" it typed in the Google address bar. "222222222222222." And on and on, ad infinitum, until I finally gave in and found an Apple store and paid Apple yet more money I don't have for a clunky silver laptop-style thing that claims not to work in 10.3.9. (Which it does, btw.) I did get to play with the iPhone in the shop, though. "And," as I pointed out to Laz, "at least I got that online application form done before I got the new keyboard."
"Yeah," she said. "But you filled it out entirely with 222222222222222."
Future search committees: really, you do want to hire me. Just look beyond the semiotic.

iPod Touch (2007) - So wonderful, I'm not even a teensy little bit annoyed I paid £50 for a Shuffle I no longer need six weeks beforehand. Nor am I annoyed about the old iPod clunking to a halt, or the coffee casualty of my last keyboard, or Apple removing 'iPod Download' from iTunes and claiming it was an upgrade, or the removal of the Dogcow from print setup screens far and wide. I forgive Apple everything.


  1. Laz Says:
  2. I got a menchie, woo!


    I've been meaning to tell you for a few weeks now, that when I mentioned our trip to the Apple store to my Apple fanatic boss (you'd love him) he told me your old keyboard was (possibly) fixable. Apparently all you needed to do was soak it in cooled, boiled water. "It must be distilled, you can't just use water straight from the tap, so you have to boil it and let it cool, Laz," the boss said urgently. "And don't forget to let it cool."

  3. Yeah, it might still be fixable. (And one of these days I'll get a screwdriver small enough to take it apart, plus one of those pens that'll draw... connector... stuff... things on circuit boards, and see what can be done.) Drying it out properly takes several days plus a hairdryer, though...